France-Portugal, Deschamps: “Quiet and ambitious”. Santos: “Sad but ready to react”.
The Blues, who have already qualified, are aiming to win the group for a theoretically more comfortable part of the table. The reigning European champions even risk elimination.
BUDAPEST – Euro2020 : Portugal-France has become a strange affair: since Monday night, thanks to the defeat of Ukraine, the French are certain of a place in the round of 16 and consequently Wednesday’s challenge in Budapest has lost its dramatic nature and leaves room for other considerations. Deschamps, for example, could rely heavily on turn over, even if he makes a catenact on the subject (“You will know everything before the game”). But there should be room for Tolisso and debutant Koundé, who could earn a permanent place on the right defensive flank.
Deschamps: “We are calm and ambitious”.
Deschamps certainly doesn’t harbour any obsessions or fears: “We can afford to play calmly, which is not at odds with our ambition to get the best possible result. However, the feeling is that Deschamps cares little about where they finish in the group: the advantage of first place is obvious (the round of 16 in Bucharest against Switzerland or Ukraine), but the coach has not beaten about the bush, also because when he spoke he could not know who the opponent (at Wembley) would be in the event of a second place finish. France could even finish third, anything is possible, but the teams in Group F have the advantage of coming in last and therefore being able to speculate on the result to be achieved.
“From the round of 16 we start from scratch”.
However, Deschamps put it this way: “From the round of 16 it’s like starting a new competition. We know how things can change from the group stage to the knockout stages. We know how things can change from the rounds to the direct elimination. What you take with you, more than the points in the standings, is the experience you have accumulated, the confidence you have gained. Just that. A defeat could affect our conviction.” Even captain Lloris admitted that “you can’t go into the game with any calculations. We just have to think that challenges like these give you confidence if you win them and that it’s important to have difficulties because they help you improve.
Ronaldo just needs a draw
Portugal are rooting for a relaxed France, of course. A draw would promote Ronaldo, while a defeat could even relegate him to fourth place if Hungary beat Germany. The reigning champions have certainly fallen short of expectations so far: “What we have seen in these two games is not Portugal’s matrix,” says coach Santos. “It is not a habit for us to lose like that, we have never conceded four goals in one game. The defeat to Germany left marks. We are still very sad, but used to reacting.”
Hot weather in Budapest
There will also be changes in Portugal (Renato Sanches will be a starter by popular vote), because Budapest is expected to be extremely hot, with 36° during the day and 28° at game time. The teams are tired, and the medical bubble in which they are forced does not help, and even increases the stress. “In the old days,” explains Deschamps, “you could break up the monotony of training by organising a match against a boys’ team, but that’s not allowed now. Between one match and another, the ultimate goal is to recover. Both national teams, by the way, are based in Budapest, the only city where the European Championship was really “lived”, considering that Hungary was also stationed in the capital and that the Puskas Arena was the only stadium 100% packed, even if not with the best fans: Ronaldo complained of homophobic chants, the French of racist ones.
Tag: Euro2020 , Euro2020 France – Portugal , France , Portugal , Ronaldo